Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Among the tormented men of thought
Of the wrecking ball of what God has wrought
The confusing voices from men of vote
Scramble our minds by the words he spoke
They chew and spit and disagree
No thought left for just you and me
Only profit’s greed and rising stock
Big dividends exchanged for hardened locks
They lust for cash and Highest Office Space
The low of the lowest of our human race
Sells their soul for fortunes chance
Learns each waltz of the devil’s dance
Boast and lie, distort the facts
Pile the load on middle class backs
But to hear them rally rant and shout
Rich man scams those that must go without
As they go back to their little pink homes
He flies South as if it’s Nero’s Rome



I was walking down the street last Thursday
and a dog with bright white teeth and a big smile
approached me from the right.
He said he enjoyed walking with humans and asked if he could join me.
I, a man of great tolerance, said OK, glad to have ya!
We had walked only a block or two and he starts sniffing the street light poles and fire hydrants.
And with that big smile on his face he raises his leg and pisses on one of the posts.
Shocked…. I said, “look, that is very embarrassing to me, to be walking with you and then
having you do that. people will think you are my dog and blame me for messing up the sidewalk.
And how can you do that with such a big smile on your face?”

He said, “Smile on my face? I’m not smiling, dogs don’t smile! I have an urinary infection!” Then he gave me the finger!


I’m not rockin’, really.
Just thinkin’
A question or two.
Not really.
You probably want to know
what thing would keep me up
awake, rustling the bed-sheets
fluffing and re-fluffing the pillow.
Not about a dollar gained or lost
a love lost or dreamt of.
An aching back or swollen knee,
a boner
none of these.
A red digital clock flashing a new number
every 60 seconds
every goddamn minute.
Maybe that is it,
the minutes silently ticking away
without a sound, a shout
or fond farewell
just a goddamn flash
of a sequential number.
Can’t live with them
can’t live without them
so many goddamn clocks
reminding us of the passage of time
passing at the speed of light
The only way to slow it down
is to keep moving
the faster the better.
Or live in the millisecond
ya, that might do it.
stretch it out to a thousand pieces.
Ok, I’ll meet you downtown
at 6:01:23.003
Don’t be late.
I have not a millisecond to waste.




Friday March 12, 2010

There’s an old fashion saying, “Home Is Where the Heart Is”. Perhaps I really didn’t appreciate the meaning of that until today.

After a two-week absence, spending all but two nights in hotels, I arrived at my own digs today. But the house was empty. As in, my wife was out-of-town. She is staying one more day with our children and grandchildren. As I reported yesterday, I was able to spend some family time with her and the kids Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. But I must regroup today and Saturday for a return trip to my project in Illinois on Sunday afternoon.

So now you may know what I’m talking about. I’m at my house but I’m not yet home. Home will arrive tomorrow in a red Prius with my wife. It’s funny because my wife believed home arrived today with me in a white Tundra. Home is a very complex concept that is sometimes hard to identify and keep track of. Although we were not in our house, we probably were more at home Thursday night at the middle school in Leavenworth attending Em’s band concert.

But we have been married many years and we have learned that we can adapt easily. I think you call it “rolling with the blows”. We have been very lucky to have raised our two children and now we get to watch our children as they raise their five and create homes for themselves.

Hopefully tomorrow after Marcia’s visit ends, their houses will be just a little bit less home without us. Just as ours through the years has become just a little bit less without them.

Such is the life of John

I approached a large green intersection sign and it said “Will Rogers Turnpike Next Right”. I have taken that tollway a few times and I have seen it on maps and I have just driven past it as I did last week. But I’ve never really thought about something. What I’ve never thought of but now seems so apparently ironic is this. Did the person that suggested Will Roger as the name for that tollway really know anything about him?

I have read a lot about Will Rogers and I have seen his films. His political satire is the best and very cutting. But he didn’t appear to give any politician a free ticket. Or a free pass or maybe you could call it a free toll ticket. He was the biggest promoter of a free public transportation system. But I now can’t help but think what Ol’ Will would have to say about having his name up in lights not at the movies theater but up in lights in the middle of a big 30 foot green tollway sign. And you may know some tollways in Oklahoma. You are stopped every 20 miles or so to pay another toll. Now I can’t help but think about how Mr. Rogers would be impatiently chewing his gum faster and faster searching for change before and after each one of those damn toll gates. Now that’s funny! I’m sure he would be writing about it in his daily newspaper columns.

Rest in peace Will, there are plenty of other things named after you, like airports. Oh my god! I never thought of that! What would he be writing about airports nowadays? Now that’s even funnier to imagine!

Such is the life of John

A Chance Of It

Posted: October 17, 2016 in free verse, Life, poem, poet, poetry, story, writing

I’m not sure there is any lesson at all.

On one side there is life, on the other, our frail and fragile frames and searching minds. Life never changes. It is that big square edged shiny monolith looming over us, that says nothing, does nothing and appears occasionally out of no where. And we spend our time hovering around it, feeling its perfectly smooth texture, rubbing our cheeks against its cool hard sides and all the time wondering what its made of and what it will give or take away from us this time.
Yes, indeed, life could well be a rock.

As one man dies, another child or two are born and life just keeps moving along. Who knows, that man may have invented penicillin or that child may be the one who will harness nuclear fusion but more likely as not that old man and that spankened new child will probably contribute nothing earthshaking at all. They both just spent their time here on earth admiring the monolith and hoping for just one feel of its smooth cool surface. They were just glad to be alive and felt fortunate to have had a chance of it.

And there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.


My friend Carolyn, doesitevenmatter3, has unofficially declared this week “Donkey Week”. Here’s my contribution.










My father with his Donkey Baseball team’s MVPs. Really! They call it Donkey Ball.

In the 1930’s local baseball teams were organized in most American towns. Baseball was truly the national sport. Practically every town, from the smallest to the largest had at least two baseball teams. My father, and many others, felt the game boring and needed “a little spicing up” so he and a partner added to the spectacle of the game, the donkeys.

Donkey Ball, as it was called, became very popular in the Midwest. His donkey team traveled throughout the Midwest for a few years. His partner was the advance man who would “sell” a town a night or two of donkey ball and organize the time and date and put up posters and newspaper ads of the coming attraction and then a few days or weeks later Dad would bring into town the donkeys and organize the entertainment.  The towns had to furnish the players.

Really the donkeys were well-trained animals that he and his partner spent months training. Each animal had its own specialty. One would not move an inch if directed to “stay” by my father. Another would only let a child sit on its back but bucked if an adult tried to ride it. ( the child was given candy to give the donkey before they mounted it.) One would run the bases even if the player fell off, one would totally carry the player off of the field and back to the stock truck. Another would just lay down on the ground if anyone tried to ride her. The towns people loved seeing the local gentry, the police chief or the mayor thrown off the donkey or kicked or disobeyed. Really an evening of fun.

My father had an added attraction of a bull-whip act that he performed sometime during the show which the donkeys also participated in. Similar to a circus lion taming act, where the donkeys would line up and perform tricks at the commands of my “lion tamer” father.

Here’s a YouTube of how the game was played. This is not his team playing, it is just one of the only documented films of the game in the early 1930’s when he was in the business. There are Donkey Ball teams still today but this film best represents what my father described it to be in the 1930’s. Wish I had a film of his. There are still donkey baseball and basketball game promoters in business even today. My father’s and others were among the firsts.

Such is the life of John.


( E’s yearly re-blog driven by a discomfited mind)

Well, we have gone through the motions once again. We have chased the elusive one hour of time, the daylight hour, the spring forward – fall back, the should be time . Does anyone really feel like we’ve gained or lost anything? Has it saved us anything? Do you think the people living on the eastern edge of your time zone benefited  as much as the people living on the western edge? Or do we just automatically join the common think and mindlessly move the clocks ahead for a few months and then move the damn things back for a few months each year not wondering if it makes any sense or not. Does anyone but me wonder about the futility of this exercise?

timewasteI really did sit down here to write about something more interesting but after a weekend like this I just can’t help myself. I have to rant for just a few minutes about daylight saving time.

I know it’s easy not to think about DST. Most clocks in this digital age move forward and back automatically on their own from their burnt in firmware.  I’m guessing all modern computer clocks, coffee pots, car radios, bed stand alarm clocks just change time without human intervention, mindlessly. Easy to do in the digital world, being mindless. But the last I heard and observed, the earth is still running pretty damn analog. I haven’t noticed it jerking and stopping each second going around its axis like the second hand on a digital Seiko. Or am I not drinking enough coffee?

Some say it saves energy, I guess we have used it as the hinge pin of our national energy policy. I have been acquainted with and worked with many engineers in the energy business and some that really are scientists and most agree that proving that DST saves energy is the most complicated algorithm to compute and solve. Some say it isn’t that complicated and it was proven years ago that it saves nothing.

Me, I don’t care how many parenthesis are in the frickin’ energy formula, all that I know is that twice a year millions of people, including myself have to drag our sorry working class asses into and out of bed one hour sooner or later each day totally screwing up our sleep cycle for a few weeks until we are acclimated to it. And there are quite a few thinking people like myself that continue to wonder why.

India, Japan and China I can estimate – billions of people – stopped the lunacy many years ago. It never made any sense to the thinking people of Arizona, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. Many nations that once were on DST have now quit it.

Sorry Ben Franklin, I admire you very much but we aren’t just using candles anymore. We have air conditioning and central heat. We don’t necessarily sleep past dawn anymore. And we are spread across a lot bigger area than we were when we had 13 colonies basically along the east coast. You had 1 Time Zone, Eastern which wasn’t even thought of yet. I’m sure if you were still alive, you would be finding humor in this ritual also. Please come back and knock some sense back into us. They seem to respect your opinion.

I’m not going to list all of the pro and con claims for and against daylight saving time, there are unproven arguments on each side and frankly I hate arguing. But I knew it was a lost cause to speak against it when two things happened. The first was when they extended DST to November so candy manufactures would have more trick or treaters for Halloween, it seems more kids can participate if it stays daylight longer. The second event was when some of the countries of the world that are located on or near the equator started participating in the lunacy.

In the world of daylight saving time both of these reasons make perfect sense.


( Read DistantShipSmoke’s About page to learn about E. )

Since none other of John’s characters feel like contributing,  I will repost a few facts and thoughts about me, E, that were unknown until that time.

Saturday December 10, 2011

1) My pickup randomly does not start on the first turn of the key. Very unpredictable. It may start every time for a week and then out of nowhere it only clicks. I turn the ignition off and try again and it starts immediately. This makes me very insecure. I will be left stranded someday. Of course, it never fails to start for my mechanic.

2) I sometimes hear a humming in my house. No one else can or will ever hear it. It sounds like a fan running way far in the background. I can’t find where it is originating. Others are questioning my sanity.

3) I have a pain in my left lower abdomen. I have had multiple CT scans, x-rays and cardiac stress tests. No one can find or explain the cause. This makes me very insecure. I will be left stranded someday. Others question my sanity. If I had a tombstone and I won’t, it would say “told ya I was sick”.

4) I seldom go through fast food drive-through windows. On the few occasions that I have, randomly I get a sandwich with no meat patty in it. No one else that I talk to has ever had this happen. This makes stopping at a fast food place more interesting for me but it doesn’t entice me to go there more often.

5) I attract toddlers. When I fly commercially, I watch the door as passengers board, when a mother boards with one or more children I know exactly where they will be sitting. If the children are two or younger, directly beside me. If they are between the ages of three and seven, directly behind me so they have a comfortable place to kick their feet. This of course happens randomly, it makes that long walk down the aisle, mother, child and suitcase in tow, very suspenseful. This makes me very insecure.

6) In my experience of commercial flying I have sat next to three mothers nursing their infants. All at different times, of course. This makes me insecure, I worry where I should keep my eyes and I am amazed at how long it takes a small child to feed. But I feel that after the child goes to sleep the mother should remove the baby and button up. After a flight like that I question my own sanity.

7) I never change lines at the store check out counters. Every time, yes every time that I have changed to a shorter line, the customer ahead of me presents an out-of-town check, needs a refund or asks for a price check.

Somehow all of these unpredictable things as a whole give me a warm sense of knowledge, experience, calmness and insecurity. This I know.


I’m having less and less to say. With age comes sweet calmness and confidence. I’ve made my mark, the mark has been to only live to an older age each year, to get to a point where it is unnecessary to prove my worth.

From the time that I first retrieved an out of reach hammer for my father to save him a few steps, I was made aware of my worth. He said “Thank you Partner !”. Although I was four years old, I realized I was worthy to be on his job site. I was not just a kid stumbling over the two by fours, open trenches and avoiding backing cement trucks. I was now contributing to the effort. I was now the official tool, nail and board getter for the boss. His Go-fer! My first job! After work that afternoon, at a tavern that I can still recall the smell and the song playing on the juke-box, I received a Coke, a bag of peanuts and a thank you for my labor that day. Yes, I have literally worked for peanuts and I have worked for “Peanuts” pretty much every day since. Don’t we all? Like Pavlov’s dog, my mouth still waters at the sound of Patsy Cline, the smell of stale smoke and big bust bar maids. Basically, I’m still working for very similar rewards.

Oh, the peanuts do come in a much bigger bag now. I soon learned that my labor was worth more than just the memory of a smell, cold drink and a pretty song. But unfortunately the alarm clock each morning means time for work and at the sound of it my mouth stays a little dryer now. Most of my years since in order to get those rewards have involved government certifications, exams and yearly performance reviews. Just being there with the right tool at the right time hasn’t always been enough. Every year we are evaluated to prove our worth.

For more years than I care to count, I have worked. Perhaps since I was four years old, certainly since I was fourteen when I received my social security card and filled out my first 1040 tax form. There is now little reason for more certifications and I know the system well enough that a yearly performance review entails little more than copying last year’s, a phone call from the boss and if we are in the same city at the right time, a conversation over a nice meal. My days of having to prove my worth are coming to an end. Just performing my jobs well now will suffice.

I think I have finally reached my mark. It won’t be long that the Pavlov’s bell on the alarm clock will be put on snooze much more often. And the sound of it will really mean breakfast, the breakfasts that I have missed so many times in the past because my saliva was not anxious for bacon and eggs but for proving my worth at work. I’m almost there. But soon I will be getting back to gauging my worth by the chill of the Coke, the sound of the music and the pleasure of talking to beautiful big bust barmaids.

Such is the life of John.